HeartFit with Annie Smith
Meet Annie – a Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor for 28 years whose passion in life is to help others achieve their health and fitness goals to become their best version of themselves, as well as enjoying the benefits of regular physical exercise herself. Annie’s life as she knew it came to an abrupt halt when she was diagnosed 8 years ago with an invisible illness; a rare, incurable, and life-threatening heart disease, Cardiac Sarcoidosis (& systemic sarcoidosis). She had an ICD implanted (pacemaker and defibrillator) and started taking many medications daily to help sustain her.
Annie wouldn’t let it stop her from being as physical as she safely could, so she took on walking when she was at her sickest, on the recommendation of her cardiologist, Dr. Heather Ross. It’s now one of her favourite exercises!
In 2019 Annie created Annie’s Pace Global Adventure (APGA); a 4 day all-abilities adventure every May, where the world unites for 4 days for heart health awareness. The goal during those 4 days (& lifetime), is to exercise for 1 hour/day, OR test your limits along with Annie and exercise as long as you can for those 4 days.
Annie’s personal APGA goal every year is to treadmill-walk as far as she can every day for the 4 days (usually an average of 8-10+ hours/day). For the first three APGA’s, Annie was feeling good physically. She treadmill-walked: 161 km-2019; 180km-2020 and 150km-2021. In April 2022 before the 4th annual APGA, Annie managed to walk 101km/2022 two weeks before bilateral knee surgeries. Fast forward one year later to May 2023 for the 5th annual APGA. Annie said she tested her limits greater than any of the other years due to many personal physical challenges. But she persevered, remained positive, didn’t give up and did her best. On Days 1&2 she treadmill-walked 70km total, on Day 3 she indoor cycled 3.5 hours and on Day 4 she swam 1.5km in an hour. She made accommodations for herself due to her inability to walk 4 days straight anymore. A testament to what testing your limits is all about – any kind of physical movement! “It is for FUN while challenging your body, mind & spirit and keeping your heart healthy!”
Your life is worth 1 hour a day – Dr. Heather Ross.
All donations raised go to Dr. Ross’ Test Your Limits Initiative. (“The funds raised will be for support of heart disease and heart failure research. 100% of your support will go directly towards making research in heart failure and transplantation possible.”).
APGA has raised $21,000 in 5 years. The 6th annual APGA is May 24-27, 2024. Annie encourages everyone to share her message and get involved – Sign up to participate!
Annie hopes to inspire you and help you achieve the best version of yourself daily and choose courage over fear.
‘I am grateful! I appreciate life every day I wake up and I listen to my heart and what it tells me. I live with a positive attitude and that’s about all I can do!’